DC United topples Orlando City with last gasp winner

Extraordinary… just extraordinary. In thousands of games played across the planet, not one has ever ended the way the game between DC United and Orlando City ended tonight.

Just 50 seconds were left on the clock in added time when DC United fired over a last minute corner with the score at two goals apiece. Orlando cleared the ball and it fell to Will Johnson to chase on the left hand side of the field. Running from his own penalty box, the 31 year old midfielder reached the ball just inside his own half and it seemed like Orlando City would finally win an away game. You see, for some inexplicable reason, DC had thrown caution to the wind with the game set to end as a draw and they threw their own goalkeeper David Ousted forward for what may well have been the last chance and kick of the game.

It wasn’t and Johnson was in the clear with the distance of half a field between him and an empty goal net to win the game for Orlando. Enter Wayne Rooney.

The veteran England forward player, with more goals for his country than any other, found himself as the last line of defence and some 10 yards away from Johnson when the Canadian reached the ball. Somehow, the former Manchester United and Everton striker manged to dive in and slide tackle the ball away from Johnson and save certain defeat. Then he got up, carried the ball from 10 yards inside his own half to ten yards inside the Orlando half before firing an inch perfect cross for Luciano Acosta to head home for the game winner and his hat-trick.

Truly remarkable.

“First of all, I saw our goalkeeper going up at 2-2 and I was surprised. I was thinking what to do. He was already there and it was too late to tell him to go back so I just tried to anticipate and stayed out the box and thankfully I got the tackle in. Luciano got a great header so I’m delighted. It was strange, we went from losing to winning in five seconds,” Rooney said after the match.

It was a dramatic ending to a dramatic match between two teams at the wrong end of the MLS Eastern Conference. Before the game, Orlando were in 8th place with 23 points and DC bottom of the pack with just 18 points but with four games in hand over their Florida rivals.

Earlier, Acosta opened the scoring in the fourth minute of first-half stoppage time with a give-and-go to Rooney and an absolute rocket giving Lion’s reinstated keeper, Joe Bendik, no chance with the finish from a narrow angle.

Orlando got back into it against the run of play in the 50th minute when Uri Rosell sent a cross along the byline that D.C. keeper Ousted inadvertently deflected into his own net.

Moments later, in the 55th minute, Orlando’s Cristian Higuita was sent off for a high elbow swing that made contact with Yamil Asad and it didn’t take long for the home side to retake the lead. Acosta troubled the men in purple all evening and his second goal in the 64th minute came as he applied a neat finish to Asad’s cross from close range.  Video review then confirmed the goal and that Acosta was onside.

Dom Dwyer equalized for Orlando in the 71st minute, getting behind the central defence from Rosell’s through ball and expertly chipping it over Ousted for his 11th goal of the season.

Then came the last minute drama. And a final few seconds that no-one will ever forget.

The Lions return to action on Friday, Aug. 24, at 8 p.m. ET when they host Atlanta United at Orlando City Stadium.

Tickets to all City home matches are available at OrlandoCitySC.com or by calling 855-ORL-CITY.

Lineups/Substitutions:

D.C. United – GK David Ousted, D Joseph Mora (Ulises Segura 86’), Steve Birnbaum, Kofi Opare, Oneil Fisher (Darren Mattocks 79’), M Russell Canouse, Yamil Asad, Luciano Acosta, Paul Arriola, Zoltan Stieber, F Wayne Rooney

Substitutes Not Used: GK Bill Hamid, D Vytautas Andriuskevicius, Frederic Brillant, M Junior Moreno, F Chris Durkin

Orlando City SC – GK Joe Bendik, D Mohamed El-Munir (PC 67’), Amro Tarek, Shane O’Neill, Scott Sutter, M Uri Rosell, Will Johnson, Tony Rocha (Dillon Powers 57’), Cristian Higuita, Chris Mueller, F ⓒ Dom Dwyer (Stéfano Pinho 88’)

Substitutes Not Used: GK Earl Edwards, Jr., D Chris Schuler, M Pierre Da Silva, Josué Colmán

Attendance: 17,020

 

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